THIS WEEK @NASA: Key Milestones For Artemis Program, Fitting Tribute For a Historic Flyby

By  //  November 16, 2019

Latest Happenings around NASA

ABOVE VIDEO: Some very complex work outside the space station, key milestones for our Artemis program, and a fitting tribute for an historic flyby … a few of the stories to tell you about – This Week at NASA!

Spacewalk Begins Repairs on the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer

On Nov. 15 our Andrew Morgan and Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency, ventured outside the International Space Station to begin a series of spacewalks to repair a cosmic ray detector called the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, or AMS.

The complex spacewalks – designed to fix a coolant leak and upgrade AMS’ cooling system – involve intricate cutting, splicing and reconnecting of cooling tubes, and power and data cables. Astronauts have never cut and reconnected fluid lines during a spacewalk. These AMS spacewalks are considered the most complex of their kind since the Hubble Space Telescope servicing missions.

Vice President Pence Visits NASA’s Ames Research Center to Discuss Lunar Exploration

Vice President Mike Pence and our Administrator Jim Bridenstine, visited our Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley on Nov. 14, to highlight the work being done at Ames in support of our Artemis program, which plans to return astronauts to the surface of the Moon.

Vice President Mike Pence:
“You here at Ames are going to be a critical part at helping us develop the technologies to live on the Moon – not for days, but for months and even years. We’ll learn how to make use of all the resources the Moon has to offer.”

One of the facilities highlighted during the event was the Vertical Motion Simulator. This facility will have an integral role in developing a lunar lander for Artemis – which will land the first woman and next man on the Moon by 2024.

All Four Engines Are Attached to the SLS Core Stage for Artemis I Mission

At our Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, all four RS-25 engines have been attached to the core stage of our Space Launch System, or SLS rocket, in preparation for Artemis I, the first integrated uncrewed flight test of SLS and our Orion spacecraft. To complete assembly of the rocket stage, engineers and technicians will integrate the propulsion and electrical systems within the structure.

Orion Moved from Assembly Stand Ahead of Shipment to Ohio for Tests

Meanwhile, at our Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the Orion crew and service module stack for Artemis I was lifted out of the Final Assembly and Test cell on Nov. 11, where it has been since July, for mating and closeout processing. Engineers will now prepare Orion for transport to our Plum Brook Station in Sandusky, Ohio, for its next phase of testing to certify the complete vehicle for flight.

New Horizons Kuiper Belt Flyby Object Officially Named

The Kuiper Belt object formerly known as 2014 MU69 has been officially named Arrokoth, a Native American term meaning “sky” in the Powhatan/Algonquian language. The naming was announced at a Nov. 12 ceremony at our headquarters in Washington, DC, as a tribute to the record-breaking New Year’s Day 2019 flyby of Arrokoth by our New Horizons spacecraft – which was some four billion miles from Earth at the time. With consent from Powhatan Tribal elders and representatives, our New Horizons team proposed the name to the international authority that names Kuiper Belt objects.

In Service of Our Country

In recognition of Veterans Day, our Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, recently welcomed commanding Army General James Dickinson for a visit to the center’s Payload Operations Integration Center. While there, he had a space-to-ground conversation with astronaut, and fellow soldier Andrew Morgan – an active-duty emergency physician – about Morgan’s experiences aboard the International Space Station. NASA salutes all active-duty personnel and veterans of our Armed Forces and would like to thank them for their service to our country.

That’s what’s up this week @NASA